Practice Writing Makes Perfect Writing
Beautiful handwriting is all about practice. Here are writing tips so you can not only improve your penmanship but also find your style. Handwriting can be fun, and it doesn’t feel like you’re in school and being graded on your effort.
Although the Sumerians can be credited for inventing the earliest form of writing (in the form of simple pictographs), it was the Egyptians and the Chinese who came up with the earliest handwriting using an alphabet.
We owe our own handwriting primarily to the Latin used by the Romans. As our handwriting developed over the centuries, it soon became sort of an art form. Dry, boxy letters became soft cursive and the art of penmanship was born.
What Makes Handwriting Unique
Handwriting is very unique to each individual. Each person uses a different type of pressure when writing, but there are also differences in the size of the letters, as well as in their slope and shape (rounder vs. narrower and longer). You can also notice differences in the spacing between letters—Some people never break words when writing in cursive, while others leave spaces open in between letters. These are the fundamentals of handwriting. Writing is very rhythmic and you can find repetition of certain elements (spacing, length of letters, falling or staying over the lines when writing, etc.) when you observe someone’s handwriting carefully.
What Affects Handwriting
If you’re tired, have been drinking or are highly stressed, it can usually be seen in your writing. Your handwriting also changes over time, as you age. Bad, sloppy handwriting can also be a symptom of being in a rush and trying to get as much information as possible down on paper before you forget it. It’s all about creativity in handwriting. This is why, surprisingly, many writers have sloppy handwriting –They’re trying to keep up with the speed of their thoughts and not focusing on the quality of the letters.
Improving Your Handwriting
So all that said, why would you even want to improve your handwriting?
There are many reasons for it. Maybe you simply want to make your writing more legible. Or maybe you want to imitate the elegant, fine writing of centuries past. For example, did you know that some of the most elegant handwriting can be found on historical documents like the Declaration of Independence? In those times, elegant penmanship was a sign of class, so people worked hard to improve their style and writing cadence. Maybe you want to write elegantly for your book. Or maybe you’re interested in learning calligraphy and need to improve your overall writing style first.
Get Started with These Simple Tips
- Handwrite Everything: A letter to grandma, your to-do list, your next essay paper or work report. Even better, start a journal, so you’re forced to write by hand regularly. If you can’t think of anything to write, open a book to any page and copy an entire paragraph. The more you practice and the more your hands get used to the feel and movement of the pen, the easier it will become to write with elegance.
- Choose the right instrument: Experiment writing with a regular pen, a fountain pen, a pencil and even a series of markers of different thickness. See which one helps your writing flow better and stick to that one during the first few weeks of practice. Once you’ve mastered the right shapes, you can switch to something else.
- Practice: Use one of our worksheets to imitate the shape of different letters and for inspiration. Looking at writing helps your mind get used to the shapes. Practice imitating the letters, not only on paper but also by moving your hand and trying to “write” into the air. This trains your wrist and the muscles on your shoulder and arms so the movement becomes natural.
Try to relax when practicing. The tighter you hold the pen, the less natural the letters will look and the more contrived the writing will feel. There really should not be a lot of hand, finger or wrist movement when writing. Your whole hand should almost glide over the paper, and the main part of the movement and effort should actually come from the shoulder.
Your ultimate goal is to get even, uniform letters that are not only well-rounded but also all of the same size. Uneven letters look sloppy, especially in calligraphy, when you’re writing with delicate instruments and fresh ink. Handwriting is part art, part technique, and the more you practice, the easier and more natural the actual writing will feel.